Over the past few years, speculative fiction has become one of my favourite genres, and for a good reason. It blends elements of science-fiction with futuristic, super-natural themes; it can also include elements from dystopian, fanasty, and horror. What’s not to love?
If you’re looking for a new speculative fiction book to try out, I highly recommend Foe by Iain Reid, which is set to hit shelves this August.
The book’s description dubs it as “a taut, psychological mind-bender,” but I didn’t really agree with the psychological part. I found it much more speculative than psychological, but that may have just been my interpretation.
Foe is an incredible book with only three main characters: Junior and Henrietta (Hen), a young couple living on a farm, and Terrance, a seemingly mysterious man who works for a private company, that is somehow connected to the government.
You know something weird is going on as soon as the book begins. Junior and Hen live a simple, quiet life, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. They keep to themselves and don’t have any family or friends around, so when a car pulls up to their house one night, you know something is off.
What follows is a beautiful narrative that explores the typical, daily life of Junior and Hen. Terrance picks apart their relationship, asks personal questions about their marriage, and spends the rest of his time observing everything they do. Creepy, right? To make matters worse, Junior begins having a hard time recalling past memories, and Hen becomes increasingly agitated with the situation as a whole.
As you read through the book, you’re dealt more questions than answers. Who are these characters? What are they doing? Who does Terrance really work for? Why must Junior and Hen go through so much, without being given a full explanation? I became more enthralled with the story after each chapter, and eagerly awaited more hints and clues as to what was happening.
When the truth came out, though, my mind was blown! I did not expect the plot twist, at all, and as soon as everything became clear, I was annoyed with myself for not predicting it earlier. Once everything is laid out, the story become so obvious and simple that you’ll be hitting yourself over the head for not putting it together.
Foe will make you question a lot of things: the future, technology, and what lengths you’d go to to preserve relationships. It’s an amazing book, fast-paced, and wonderfully written. It’s eerie and unsettling, but will also tug on your heartstrings. I’m confident that it will be a fantastic book to curl up with in the fall, soon after its release date.
Thank you to the publisher for an electronic ARC of this book via NetGalley.